March 08, 2005
"It is not appropriate to take an animal from the wild and send it to a captive facility in another state just because people have become attached to it. This situation appears to have been caused by illegal behavior by well-meaning people," said Matt Robus, Director of ADF&G's Division of Wildlife Conservation.
The lone wolf near Evansville has been seen over the past few months with an injured paw, and although the lower portion of the right front paw is missing, it appears to have healed and the animal is able to get around. Currently, the wolf appears to be healthy. Although the wolf has not seriously injured anyone, it did scratch one person when he tried to pet it.
According to some local reports, the wolf has been fed by local residents - an act that can present a significant safety hazard to people in the area. Habituated and food-conditioned wolves have attacked people in Canada and Alaska. Most recently, a boy was attacked in Icy Bay in April 2000, by a wolf that may have received food from humans. ADF&G staff strongly encourages people to obey wildlife regulations designed to keep people safe and not to feed or handle wolves.
Interior Regional Supervisor David James said that ADF&G cannot always respond to nuisance wildlife problems especially in remote villages, and that it is rare for villages to have this kind of problem.
ADF&G has no plans to kill the wolf at this time, but will work with the Alaska State Troopers to help prevent further problems. Alaska State Troopers are watching the situation, but are not planning to kill the wolf.
"If people stop feeding it and the wolf doesn't threaten anyone, there is no reason for the state to kill it. If the local trooper thinks the wolf poses a public safety problem, we would support the idea of killing the wolf," James stated. "If the wolf is found in very bad condition and the trooper feels it needs to be put down, we'd support that action, also."
Meanwhile, any licensed hunter or trapper can legally harvest the wolf before the seasons end April 30. If the wolf is threatening people or their property, the animal could be taken under "defense of life and property" laws.
ADF&G staff and Alaska
State Troopers will continue to monitor the situation.
Source of News: